web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



France Penalizes Boycott of Israeli Products

BDS activists

BDS activists
Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Share Button

Last May, the Cour de Cassation, the Supreme Court of France, ruled that calls for a boycott of Israeli products constitute discrimination and as such are illegal under French law.

The verdict was the final ruling in a legal battle that went on for years. On 9 July 2005, exactly seven years ago, the Palestinian Authority called for a worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign against the Jewish State. In February 2009, following the Gaza War in the winter of 2008-2009, several leftist and pro-Palestinian organizations in France convened to organize a French BDS campaign. The activists target French and international corporations that do business in Israel, French branches of Israeli companies, and supermarkets selling Israeli products.

Supermarkets are raided by commando units who block the entrances or storm the premises in order to remove the Israeli products or label them with stickers stating that Israel is an “apartheid state.” Often the raids are videotaped and posted on YouTube. The French revolutionary Left considers BDS to be a huge political success. The BDS actions attract a lot of support from Muslims youths from the suburbs surrounding the French cities. It is the first time since the 1960s and 70s that the French Left has been able to mobilize large numbers of youths.

BDS activists have succeeded in intimidating a number of supermarkets to remove Israeli products from their shelves, movie theaters to stop programming Israeli movies, and universities to cancel lectures by Israeli citizens. The lectures were boycotted simply because of their nationality and their Jewish religion; not for the opinions they personally might have held about Israeli politics.

Soon after the BDS raids began, the French Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisémitisme (National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism), a Jewish organization that was founded in 2002, started to lodge complaints against BDS at courts all over France. Sometimes the courts went along with the complaints, sometimes they did not.

In February 2010, the penal court of Bordeaux convicted Saquina Arnaud-Khimoun for labeling Israeli products with the sticker “Boycott Apartheid Israel.” The court ruled that she had “hindered the normal exercise of economic activities by making a distinction on the basis of nationality.” The French anti-discrimination act of 1981 prohibits “incitment to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or a group of persons on the basis of descent, ethnicity and nationality or the fact whether or not one belongs to a race or a religion.” Arnaud-Khimoun was sentenced to a fine of €1,000 ($1,230). In October 2010, the Appeals Court of Bordeaux reaffirmed the verdict.

However, in July 2011, a court in Paris acquitted Olivia Zémor, a member of the group EuroPalestine, for posting a video on the internet showing Palestinian and French activists wearing t-shirts calling for a boycott of Israel. Zémor was brought to court by four organizations, including the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

The Paris court ruled that calling for the boycott of Israeli products is not prohibited under French law. The tribunal said that “Criticism of a State or its policies cannot be regarded, in principle, as infringing the rights or dignity of its nationals, without seriously affecting freedom of expression in a world now globalized, whose civil society has become a major actor, and since no ‘criminal offence against a Foreign State’ has ever been established under substantive law or international common law, because this would be contrary to the commonly accepted standard of freedom to express opinions.”

The court added that “Since the call of a boycott of Israeli products is formulated by a citizen for political motives and is part of a political debate relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a debate concerned with a matter of general interest with international significance – the offence of incitement to discrimination, based on the fact of belonging to a Nation, is not constituted.” Moreover, the court pointed out, “certain sectors of Israeli opinion support the BDS call.” In this regard, it explicitly referred to the declaration of the Israeli Women’s Coalition for Peace.

The verdict in the Zémor case encouraged Arnaud-Khimoun in her decision to bring her case to the French Supreme Court. On 22 May, however, the French Cour de Cassation reaffirmed that publicly calling for the boycott of Israeli products is a case of incitement to discrimination on the basis of nationality.

This Supreme Court’s ruling is in line with earlier French jurisdiction. In September 2004, a French mayor was convicted because during a session of the town council he had called to “boycott Israeli products in protest against the Israeli politics with regard to the Palestinians.” This appeal was also posted on the town’s internet site. The mayor was convicted by the Appeal Court and by the Supreme Court. In 2007, the French Supreme Court also convicted a French firm that had given a certificate to a company in the United Arab Emirates declaring that its goods had not been transported by an Israeli company and would not be delivered to Israel.

French BDS activists who took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strassbourg, also saw their cases turned down. On 16 July 2009, the ECHR ruled that the French verdicts prohibiting boycotts of Israeli products were not violating human rights. BDS has since tried to circumvent these verdicts by emphasizing that the BDS boycotts are limited to products from the “occupied territories.” This, however, is contradicted by the website of BDS-France which calls for boycotts of Israeli products in general.

In an op-ed in the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, French lawyer Michael Ghnassia wrote that the ban on calling for a boycott of Israeli products is not an infringement of free speech because these boycotts affect all Israelis. Hence, the call to this boycott “is based on a racial, religious or national criterion and rather than representing a simple opinion, is a discriminatory action.” He points out that the boycott is also inspired by “a manifest attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel.”

While the ECHJ has upheld the French convictions, it should be noted that France is the only country in Europe where calling for a boycott of Israeli products has been prohibited. In other European countries, courts have so far not convicted BDS activities. It should also be noted that while in the United States the simple call for a boycott is protected by the First Amendment, European countries have restricted free speech and often convict people of incitement to discrimination and hatred for simply expressing their opinions about Islam. At least in France, calling for a boycott of Israeli products is treated in the same manner as would be a call for a boycott of Islamic products.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Share Button

About the Author: Peter Martino is a European affairs columnist for the Gatestone Institute.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “France Penalizes Boycott of Israeli Products”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest Indepth Stories
Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

Yossi Klein HaLevi

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

More Articles from Peter Martino
The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, pictured above, is run by the Anne Frank Foundation, which wrote in a report, "Israel pushes Palestinians economically into a corner and humiliates them psychologically."

“It appears that the suffering of the Jews has not transformed their view on how others should be treated.” — David Ward, British MP.

angela and friend

Because of the “5% hurdle,” Germany’s new coalition will tilt be to the left, while voters clearly wanted Germany to turn to the right.

Belgian children aged 6 to 12 are being instilled with a deep hatred for.

Islamic immigrants are hoping that by turning out a large number of their voters at a time of German voter apathy, they will be able to promote the further Islamification of Germany.

Europeans are rebelling against the unelected E.U. and its grandiose, self-regarding project of abolishing the national sovereignty.

The valuable Cypriot gas fields are located halfway between the Cypriot and Israeli coast.

Indicative of the national mood, the French are the world’s largest consumers of anti-depressants.

What we are witnessing is the Obama administration actively interfering in European politics to advance European centralization.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/france-penalizes-boycott-of-israeli-products/2012/07/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: